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The Philadelphia Phillies made a move Friday to bolster its bullpen, signing free-agent reliever Craig Kimbrel, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Now that Kimbrel will be wearing red pinstripes, there’s no better time to revisit the time Phillies’ fans behind home plate joined in unison to mock the relievers’ odd pitching stance.
Phillies fans did this to Kimbrel in 2014, at the height of his powers. Then an All-Star with the Atlanta Braves, Kimbrel was one of the league’s most feared closers, and the fans’ antics didn’t impact his outing in a 4-2 Braves victory. The following day against the Phillies, Kimbrel earned his league-leading 47th save.
Eight seasons later, Kimbrel will return to the same mound, only this time, he’ll be wearing the home team’s colors. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Phillies’ deal with Kimbrel is for one year, $10 million.
The 34-year-old struggled closing games last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, eventually losing the role in September. After an inconsistent regular season, the Dodgers left Kimbrel off its postseason roster.
For the Phillies, it’s worth giving Kimbrel a look for a season on a relatively cheap deal. So far, the Phillies bullpen includes lefty Jose Alvarado, postseason standout Andrew Bellatti, flame thrower Seranthony Dominguez, and free-agent acquisition Matt Strahm. So, with no clear closer, Kimbrel might have a shot at the job.
The Phillies bullpen finished with the fifth-highest ERA in the National League last season (4.27) but quickly corrected things in the postseason, sporting a 2.62 ERA, tops among playoff teams.